Opinion: Moldovan crisis a test case for Russia-US cooperation

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Driven into a corner by foreign policy, Plahotniuc — a Moldovan Grand Duke who also holds Russian and Romanian passports — is trying to play one last trump card: In the middle of the domestic political crisis, the old government, controlled by him and still believing itself to be in office, decided at lightning speed to move the Moldovan embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Why? To ingratiate itself with Washington and to curry favor with US President Donald Trump. It was a move much too transparent to be credible.

Read more: Moldova snap election called as crisis deepens

A chance to work together

But what happens next? This is the question that new Prime Minister Maia Sandu and her deputy, Andrei Nastase, the two leaders of the pro-European alliance ACUM, must ask themselves these days. Propelled into power by Dodon’s grace, they must act quickly and decisively to avoid becoming the plaything of pro-Russian socialists.

The new special-purpose alliance must only last as long as the president does not stand in the way of implementing reforms that have been delayed for decades. Only then will it become clear how serious the Socialists really are about the new coalition. In return, the EU must release its frozen financial aid so that living conditions are tangibly improved for the people of Moldova.

It remains to be seen how serious Moscow is about cooperation with the EU and the US. As it stands, the current crisis is a chance to work with each other, not against. Moldova will probably only be a kind of test balloon for much more complicated cases — including even the political tug-of-war in Venezuela that has spelled nothing but disaster for the people. But if the Moldova experiment fails, there is a growing danger that conditions there, too, will deteriorate and will spread to the entire region.

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